I spend many an evening hour reading children’s books to my child and many a midnight hour trying to rid my sentences of the rhyming couplets that subsequently infest my consciousness. It’s a real problem since many of the books are so masterfully constructed that I can’t help but let their rubaiyat rhymes echo into my own work. When it’s late and I’m on deadline and my resolve is weak, that’s when I’m most susceptible to their music.
For no reason at all, I’ll hack out little ditties like, “Do you pronounce the N in autumn? Or the other L in Fall? Are they whispered like the whistling wind, or have nary a sound at all?” and then I orphan them in a file I call “Lost Lines,” since it’s cute enough to keep (for what I don’t know) but of no use to a weekly newspaper column. Like these tortured lines, which will dribble out of me for hours:
These Sendaks and these Seusses
Just pedants writing ruses
’Bout cats in hats, some wag named Max